Meet The Staff

MEET THE STAFF

Administration

Ahmed Ghuman, PsyD, MBA, LPC - Interim Director

Ahmed Ghuman (he/him/his) is a Clinical Psychologist who serves as the Interim Director of the University Counseling Center at University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). Ahmed earned a PsyD in clinical psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He also holds an MBA in general business administration from La Salle University. In his clinical work, Ahmed utilizes an integrative approach of humanistic and cognitive behavioral therapy. Additionally, he specializes in positive psychology and uses a strengths-based approach rooted in positive psychotherapy with his clients. His areas of interest include self-esteem, happiness, motivation, resilience, meaning and purpose, religious and spiritual identity, and multicultural concerns.  As a clinical supervisor, Ahmed utilizes a strength’s-based approach while also promoting cultural sensitivity in supervision.  His leadership style focuses on inclusive leadership principles that promote cultural humility, curiosity, and collaboration amongst staff.  Moreover, Ahmed leads the Multicultural Care Team at Pitt’s University Counseling Center. Additionally, he is a member of the Student Affairs Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee; and the University of Pittsburgh Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Steering Committee.  He also serves on the Professional Advisory Board for the Office of Interfaith Dialogue and Engagement; and is the President of the Muslim Affinity Group at Pitt. Lastly, Ahmed serves as the Co-Chair for the Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the American College Counseling Association.

Ashlee Wolfgang, PsyD - Associate Director-Clinical Services

Ashlee (she/her/hers) received her BA in Psychology from Hiram College. She earned an MA in Mental Health Counseling from Bowling Green State University and a PsyD in Counseling Psychology from Carlow University. She completed her doctoral internship at The Ohio State University and her postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University. Ashlee’s professional interests include working with survivors of sexual violence and trauma, concerns that disproportionately affect women, identity development and self-esteem, relationship and family of origin concerns, and the unique experiences of first-generation college students and students from low-income and economically marginalized backgrounds. Ashlee’s style of therapy is integrative and client-centered, including elements of interpersonal process, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioral theories within a sociocultural and feminist framework. Ashlee especially enjoys the privilege of helping college students navigate major life transitions and understand the impact of their intersecting identities and lived experiences.

Bernadette Smith, LPC - Assistant Director-Outreach

Bernadette (she/her/hers) is a licensed professional counselor with nearly 10 years of experience in a variety of mental health settings. She enjoys working with students individually and in therapy groups with a variety of concerns, including anxiety, depression, self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and substance use. Bernadette strives to create a safe and collaborative relationship with students, allowing them to increase self-awareness, find effective solutions and build fulfilling lives. In her free time, Bernadette enjoys dancing, watching football and spending time with loved ones.

Camille Velazquez, Ph.D. - Assistant Director-Clinical Services

Camille Velazquez (she/her/hers) is a licensed psychologist who serves as the Assistant Director for Clinical Services. She obtained her BA at the University of Puerto Rico, Ponce campus in Forensic Psychology, she later got her MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology at the Ponce Health Sciences University where they have an APA accredited program. She did her doctoral internship at Torrance State Hospital, where she later worked for five more years, Camille was the training director for the internship program for three years. Camille's professional interest include training, serious mental illness, crisis management, and major life transitions. Camille's approach to psychotherapy is eclectic with elements of psychodynamic therapy, attachment-based therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. In her free time Camille loves to try new restaurants, listen to podcasts, travel to visit family in Puerto Rico and spend time with her family.

Karen Wagner - Assistant to the Director

Karen Wagner (she/her/hers) is pleased to be at the University Counseling Center as the Assistant to the Director since August 2021. Her master’s degree is in special education from Indiana State University. Her career began as a classroom teacher in Orlando, Florida where she worked with some of the most challenging students in the high school. She started at Pitt in 2018 as a department administrator in Pharmacy. Her community involvements have included teaching German, serving on the executive board for the League of Women Voters, and being passionate about local food by supporting farmers.

 

Administrative Support

Marlee Ebbert - Administrative Assistant

Marlee (She/Her/Hers) is a huge fan of Pittsburgh as she grew up thirty minutes north of the city. She enjoys working with college age students because they are full of ideas and have a passion for making a difference in the world and their community. Some of her prior community involvements include tutoring math to middle and elementary school students and serving the homeless population in the Pittsburgh area. In her free time, Marlee likes to cook, dance, spend time outdoors, listen to music, and solve the puzzles in her variety puzzle book.

Nicole Kwolek - Administrative Assistant

As a homegrown Pittsburgher, Nikki (she/her/hers) feels a close connection to Pitt’s campus, students and the city itself. As your first point of contact at the UCC, Nikki enjoys helping students connect with the resources and services they need. Nikki is a lover of dancing, coffee and all things glitter!

Carol Thompson - Administrative Assistant

Carol (she/her/hers) has worked at Pitt for 9 years and is grateful for the many opportunities she had along the way. Carol enjoys working in a university setting and having daily contact with students.

 

Clinical Staff

Heather Arment, LCSW - Lead Clinician - Practicum & Masters Trainees

Heather (she/her/hers) received her Bachelor in Psychology degree and Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Her clinical areas of interest are interpersonal relationships; grief and loss; anxiety; depression. Grounded in social work theory, Heather begins by meeting each client where they are currently at and identifying strengths and the barriers that may prevent goal attainment. She barrows from various evidence-based theories and strives to assist clients in finding solutions that help them live their very best lives. She enjoys working with college-aged clients due to their openness to change and willingness to invest in learning more about themselves.

Claire Boykiw, LPC - Clinician

Claire Boykiw (she/her/hers) holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).  Claire specializes in working with clients dealing with substance use and addiction concerns but works with clients with a wide range of presenting concerns.  Claire has a trauma-informed approach to therapy, which is shaped by attachment work and a systems lens.  Above all, Claire operates under the core tenants of person-centered therapy, meeting each client with empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard.  Claire enjoys working with college students as they navigate a wide range of practical and existential concerns in what can be a rich and challenging time of life.

Lindsay Brunswick, LPC - Clinician

Lindsay (she/her/hers) is a licensed professional counselor who completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology at the University of Central Florida. She has been working in mental health for more than 15 years, and uses a person centered, cognitive behavioral focus with her clients. Lindsay enjoys working with undergraduate and graduate students and helping people with identity exploration and finding creative solutions. When outside of the UCC, Lindsay enjoys knitting, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Jay Deiters, Ph.D. - Clinician

Jay (he/him/his) is a licensed psychologist who completed his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas and he completed his Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Science with an area of emphasis in Social Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity from the University of Northern Colorado. His clinical interests include sport and performance psychology, depression, anxiety, interpersonal relationships, men’s issues, grief/loss, life transitions, career/academic concerns, mindfulness, and stress management. Jay’s approach to therapy is integrative, with an approach focusing on creating a safe, collaborative, and supportive setting and incorporating humanistic, emotion-focused, interpersonal, and cognitive-behavioral techniques. In his free time, Jay enjoys exercising, traveling and exploring Pittsburgh.

Lori Drost, LSW - Clinician

Lori (she/her/hers) is a proud Pitt alum who earned both her Bachelor in Psychology and Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Lori’s clinical interests include LGBTQIA+, anxiety, depression, transitions and interpersonal. Lori has a wide range of theoretical approaches, including CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing and compassion-focused. College is an exciting and stressful time, full of growth, changes and transition; Lori finds it rewarding to help individuals realize their potential and navigate the stressors of this stage of life.

Brittany Jordan, M.A. - Clinician

Brittany (she/her/hers) holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and graduated with honors. She is a second-year doctoral candidate at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Counseling Education and Supervision. She has years of experience counseling children, adolescents, families and young adults. She uses culture, education, equality, empowerment, and self-exploration to help students identify strengths and to promote active change. Her professional interests and expertise include the following: Young adult trauma, attachment, relationship issues, social justice, ethnic identity, racism/discrimination, intersectionality, first-generation college students and self-esteem.  

Bernadette (Bernie) Latuch, PsyD - Clinician

Bernie (she/her/hers) has a BA in English Literature from Bellarmine University, a JD (law) from the University of Louisville, an MA in clinical psychology from the University of Dayton, and is currently completing her PsyD in clinical psychology from the Wright State University School of Professional Psychology. As a first-generation college student, Bernie enjoys working with students who are the first in their family to attend college or who are navigating other issues of identity. She has experience with students who are exploring issues of identity such as sexual orientation, gender, religion, political beliefs, and the intersection of these variables. Bernie's work is informed by Gestalt, feminist, multicultural, and humanistic theory. She also has experience in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and other CBT approaches. In her free time, Bernie enjoys watching things grow, including her houseplants, dogs, and young son. She also loves thrift stores, estate sales, and refinishing old furniture.

Cassandra Long, LSW - Coordinator for Strategic Interventions/Clinician

Cassandra (she/her/hers) received her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, with a concentration in mental health, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is interested in working with students who are experiencing interpersonal or relationship concerns, difficulty with transitioning, anxiety, depression and managing themselves among all the opportunities and distractions. Cassandra finds university students to be incredibly energetic and enthusiastic, and she is continually impressed with their accomplishments and their success in developing new abilities, as well as their capacity to embrace and adapt to new situations. She wants to encourage students to enable their passion and ingenuity while helping them make decisions about their future.

Anna Shaw, MSW, LSW - Clinician

Anna Shaw (they/them) completed their Master’s in Social Work with a certificate in Mental Health and Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Their approach to therapy is eclectic, pulling from psychodynamic, ACT, relational cultural and attachment-focused therapeutic modalities with an emphasis on social justice principles. Anna specializes in working with students on concerns related to identity, sexuality, gender, disability/neurodivergence, and living with a marginalized identity. In their free time, Anna enjoys playing bass, reading comics, watching A24 films, knitting and cooking.

Mihnea Vasilescu, LCSW, MA - Lead Clinician - TAO

Mihnea (he/him/his) joined the counseling center in 2014, initially as an intern. He received his Master’s in Social Work (MSW), with a concentration in mental health, from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. His earlier education includes an MA in Cultural Anthropology, from the University of Pittsburgh, and a BA with a major in Sociology, from the University of Bucharest. Mihnea strongly believes in the inherent and unconditional worthiness of all human beings and his approach to therapy is informed by humanistic, strength-based, multicultural, and feminist perspectives. Mihnea’s top values are compassion, justice, authenticity, and integrity. He enjoys engaging in mindfulness practice and contemplation, loves being in nature or socializing, and strives to bring about changes in his immediate environment. He especially appreciates the curiosity, openness to new experiences and perspectives, and the search for meaning of university students.

Michele Welker, LCSW - SHARE Program Coordinator/Clinician

Michele (she/her/hers) received a Master’s in Social Work with a focus in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Ohio University. She holds clinical licensure in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. She has worked in community mental health, including domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers, since the late 90’s. Her clinical work concentrates on offering person-centered, humanistic trauma-informed care. Michele can offer varying therapeutic techniques and methods, but believes the critical place of change comes from the relationship itself. In her spare time, Michele enjoys walking/hiking with her rescue pup and reading.

Danielle Williams, LCSW - Clinician

Danielle (she/her/hers) received a Master's in Social Work with a clinical focus and concentration in mental health from the University of Pittsburgh. Danielle is also a licensed clinical social worker who has been working in the mental health field for over a decade. Danielle's clinical and supportive approaches include focus on the story and narrative of the client as well as evidence based skill building strategies that harnesses the client's ability to build upon their own personal reservoir of strengths and coping skills.

Veronica Zhang, LCSW - Clinician

Veronica (she/her/hers) earned her bachelor's degree in Child, Youth and Family Studies from University of Nebraska- Lincoln and her master's degree in Social Work with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health from University of Pittsburgh. Veronica's clinical approach is guided by the belief that with appropriate and authentic empathy, guidance, encouragement and feedback, every human being can connect to, utilize, and thrive on their unique and inherent values and talents. Veronica practices therapy with a trauma-informed and multicultural lens with the goal of supporting clients in understanding how their past experiences could shape their current behaviors, perceptions and interpersonal patterns, as well as in acquiring coping skills to create a fulfilling and meaningful life for themselves. As a self-identified global citizen, Veronica enjoys learning languages, traveling, reading, and blogging in her free time. Veronica can provide psychotherapy both in English and Mandarin Chinese.

 

Residence Hall Embedded Clinicians

Kaitlyn Emile, LPC - Embedded Clinician

Kaitlyn (she/her/hers) graduated with a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University and is a licensed professional counselor and licensed behavior specialist. She has experience working with children, families, and students. Kaitlyn enjoys working with students with behavioral concerns and people who are survivors of sexual violence. Kaitlyn practices counseling with a person centered, trauma informed, cognitive behavioral approach. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Adam Gregory, NCC - Embedded Clinician

Adam Gregory (he/him/his) is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board of Certified Counselors and a Doctoral Candidate in the Counselor Education and Supervision Ph.D. program at Northern Illinois University. His current research and clinical interests include college counseling, college student development, social justice, multiculturalism, the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as human sexuality and sex related issues. When not working or writing his dissertation, Adam is either spending time with family and friends, or watching movies and films. Adam has been a member of an international film festival for over a decade and absolutely loves the art of film.

Jay Wiggin, LSW - Embedded Clinician

Jay (he/him/his) received his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Rutgers University, his Master’s in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh, and is now a Licensed Social Worker. He enjoys working collaboratively with students in both individual and group therapy settings to address many areas of concern, including anxiety, depression, grief, interpersonal relationships, and existential issues around meaning and purpose. Jay utilizes an integrative approach to psychotherapy tailored to the needs and goals of each client that is influenced by many different therapeutic modalities including psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and short-term, solution focused approaches. Jay finds work with college students to be rewarding because of the unique and important issues that come up as students leave home and enter adulthood, and because college students are inquisitive, insightful, and dedicated clients.

 

Academic Embedded Clinicians

Veronica Jones, Ed.D., LPC - Embedded Clinician, School of Medicine

Veronica I Jones (she/her/hers) graduated from Howard University, Washington D.C in Nursing, obtained a Master's in Counselor Education from the University of Pittsburgh, and lastly a Doctorate degree from Duquesne University, in Executive Counselor Education and Supervision. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, as well as being Board Certified in Telemental Health. Her work history includes over 20 years administrative and clinical experience in Substance Use Disorders, including a 10 year history part-time with University Counseling Center. More recently, she joined the team full time as an embedded clinician in the School of Medicine. Veronica's clinical interest include substance use disorders, anxiety, depression, adjustment disorders, and working with students who feel they are marginalized. Her primary therapeutic approaches include but are not limited to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Solution-focused therapy and other therapies designed to meet the student where they are with their issues/concerns. Veronica enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family.

Eric Steininger, LPC - Embedded Clinician, School of Dental Medicine/School of Nursing

Eric (He/His/Him) is a Licensed Professional Counselor who completed his master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Eric’s approach to counseling is strength based and solution focused utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT.) His areas of interest include working with students experiencing stress due to transition, anxiety, depression, and interpersonal or relational issues.  Outside of work, he enjoys being active, hiking and playing sports, as well as spending time with his family.

 

HEART Clinicians

G. Alexander Sipe, LCSW

G. Alexander Sipe (he, him, his) is grateful for opportunity to serve as a clinician in the HEART Program within the University Counseling Center. Alex earned his Master’s of Social Work degree in Direct Practice with a Certificate in Mental Health from the University of Pittsburgh. His undergraduate work in social work was completed at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Alex seeks to meet folks where they are at while utilizing curiosity and empathy to partner with and empower them to navigate and de-escalate crisis situations. He utilizes multiple modalities including CBT, Motivational Interviewing, and Solution Focused Therapy. Alex’s professional interests include crisis intervention and management, safety planning, mood management, program development, supervision, and training. He enjoys spending time with his family and is a fan of trivia, Superman, Star Trek, and baseball.

Katelyn Zeak, LCSW-CCTP

Katelyn (she/her/hers) earned a Master of Social Work from University of Pittsburgh. She is also a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, with extensive experience in crisis, trauma, and emergency/first responder calls. Katelyn approaches therapy with the belief that everyone, regardless of their background, is susceptible to experiencing a crisis or traumatic situation. She values compassionate understanding and validation in all her interactions with students. Katelyn enjoys working as a HEART Clinician, as she is able to provide necessary support that a student might need right away.

 

Current Trainees

Sonia Bajwa, MSW - Doctoral Intern

Sonia (she/her/they/them) earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 and is currently a fifth year doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology. She is excited to be back at the University of Pittsburgh as a doctoral intern for the 2021-2022 academic year. Sonia’s professional areas of interest include identity, community, diversity, equity, intersectionality, and inclusion of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds. Her approach to therapy is informed by psychodynamic, existential, humanistic, and relational approaches and the integration of skills obtained through Acceptance and Commitment, Dialectical Behavioral, and Expressive Art Therapies. Sonia enjoys working with college students because she believes it is a busy time in personal development and appreciates the opportunity to be present with them during this time.

Mary Kate Deacon, M.A. - Doctoral Intern

Mary Kate (she/her/hers) is a fifth-year Doctoral candidate at La Salle University’s Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology. During her doctoral training, Mary Kate has gained experience providing individual therapy and group therapy in a partial hospitalization setting, college counseling center, and at an Anxiety and OCD specialty clinic. Mary Kate is passionate about working with young adults struggling with anxiety and depressive disorders, eating disorders/body image issues, and trauma. She feels privileged to guide students in navigating stressful life events, developing their identities, discovering their purpose, and building fulfilling lives. Mary Kate’s approach to therapy is rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and incorporates elements of interpersonal process and relational theories. She takes a collaborative and strengths-based approach to treatment and aims to tailor therapy interventions to the individualized needs of the client. In her free time, Mary Kate enjoys figure skating, skiing, biking, and traveling.

Sarah Fox, M.A. - Doctoral Intern

Sarah (she/her/hers) is in her final year of her clinical psychology PsyD program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has experience working in rural and urban university counseling centers, outpatient forensic psychology, and inpatient behavioral health. Her areas of clinical interest include interpersonal relationships, mood issues, identity issues, trauma, and group therapy. Sarah’s approach to therapy is integrative and combines components of psychodynamic, relational, and social justice approaches. She enjoys connecting and working collaboratively with clients in order to help them reach the goals most important to them. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her dog, cooking, backpacking, and reading.

Peyton Kondis, B.S. - Clinical Counseling Intern

Peyton is currently working towards a master’s degree in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at the University of Pittsburgh. Her previous field placement was at the University of Pittsburgh’s Wellness Pavilion located in the Homewood Community Engagement Center, where she collaborated with preexisting community organizations and focused on psychoeducational programs targeted at the teenage demographic. Peyton’s areas of interest include trauma, identity development, interpersonal concerns, and psychoeducation. She utilizes an integrative approach firmly rooted in the Humanistic principles of unconditional positive regard, empathy, and congruence. In her spare time, Peyton enjoys coaching at her old swim team, exploring new music and tv shows, and visiting her puppies and family at home.

Dani Soltis, MEd - Doctoral Intern

Dani (they/them/theirs) has master's degrees in Clinical and Counseling Psychology and is currently completing their PhD at the University of Houston. Dani's clinical and research work revolves around the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly with those who identify as queer, trans, or non-binary. They have developed a niche in addressing the specific needs of transgender and non-binary clients/patients from their healthcare providers and have taught gender affirming care to those in the helping fields across the country. Dani's other areas of interest include working with the non-religious, combating size stigma/fatphobia, engaging in identity/gender exploration, and the developing of psychological flexibility. Dani's approach to counseling is often informed by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) along with Feminist/Multicultural paradigms. They also pull from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) ,interpersonal therapy, and humanistic practices. Dani is a devoted cat parent and can often keep their houseplant collection alive. They enjoy listening to true crime podcasts, occasionally building a PC, and finding the perfect recipe for a weekend dinner.

Tara Taheri, MS - Clinical Counseling Intern

Tara (she/her/hers) is currently working towards a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology at Chatham University. She recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Natural Sciences focused in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. During her undergraduate years, she was very involved on campus, including volunteering as a research assistant in neurobiology and psychology labs, serving as an undergraduate research mentor, tutoring, and working as a teaching assistant. She also has experience working as a Peer Support Specialist in an inpatient setting. Tara’s areas of interest include trauma, suicidality, eating disorder treatment, multicultural counseling, working with first-generation/immigrant college students, wellness and resilience, and life transitions. She approaches counseling in an integrative, strengths-based, person-centered, and trauma-informed way, always keeping cultural humility in mind. Tara individualizes treatment to meet the client’s needs and help them achieve their goals. In her free time, Tara can be found practicing yoga, tending to her many plants, catching up on shows, and hanging out with her dog.